7 February 2023
Esteemed ethnic national brethren, Mingalaba!
I take much pride in grasping the chance to send the message to the ceremony in commemoration of the 76th Anniversary of Shan State Day which falls on 7 February today. I extend greetings and make the best wishes for all ethnic national people across the Shan State and the entire country for having physical and mental well-being.
The Shan State is located in the eastern hilly areas of our country on more than 60,000 square miles of area, sharing borders with other countries. As such, the Shan State is an important region for the nation. It is a state blessed with land and forest scenic beauties where Shan tribes such as Shan, Palaung, Pa-O, Wa, Danu, Kokang, Lahu, Arkha and Inntha ethnic people reside together with Kachin, Kayah and Lisu ethnics preserving their own culture and customs in unison. Moreover, the Shan State is endowed with underground and aboveground natural resources such as minerals, gems, teak and forest products. As it shares borders with countries in the east, the Shan State, an important one for the nation, is developing border trade activities.
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar is home to all ethnic national people who have been residing in successive eras sharing the future through thick and thin with their own monarchs, own cultures and own kinds of literature by standing tall as a sovereign country in the world. However, British colonialists waged three aggressive wars, occupying Myanmar and enslaving the whole country in 1885.
All ethnic national peoples of the Union opposed the occupation of colonialists with utmost effort. During the period under the colonial rule, they all drove out the colonialists in unison to regain their independence holding various kinds of arms. Participation of Saophas, patriots, public leaders and all ethnic national people from the Shan State in fighting against colonialists and in the independence struggles as well as anti-Fascist activities and resistance periods together with political leaders and nationalistic activists across the nation were noble traditions and honourable historical records of the state.
As a vow to participate in all battles as long as genuine independence was not fully regained was the strongest pledge in the hearts of all ethnic national people, ethnic national leaders unitedly strived for regaining the independence of Myanmar.
In the mainland of Myanmar, AFPFL led the fight for independence with violent struggles while all patriotic people, young and old, in the Shan State also participated in the independence struggles for the nation with patriotic spirit.
In the history of Myanmar’s independence struggles, national leader General Aung San held meetings with Saophas and representatives of Shan State separately in Taunggyi on his tour of meeting with ethnic national leaders in order to regain the Independence of Myanmar. General Aung San went to London in January 1947 and held meetings with the British government and demanded the independence of the whole of Myanmar including hilly regions.
A preliminary meeting was held with the participation of Shan Saophas Council executive member Saophas and public leaders of the Shan State on 3 February 1947. All Shan and Kachin delegates held a meeting on 6 February, and one more meeting took place with the participation of Shan, Kachin and Chin representatives on 7 February. They all formed the subcommittee and signed the meeting decisions.
On 7 February 1947, Shan, Kachin and Chin ethnic leaders adopted the decision to regain independence together with the mainland of Myanmar in Panglong of the Shan State. As a gesture of honouring the 7th of February when the decisions were adopted to take the independence of the whole of Myanmar together without dividing the hilly regions and the mainland, the Shan State Day has been celebrated for 76 years. Hence, the Shan State Day is a significant day concerning with the whole Myanmar national as well as all ethnic national people as the pledges of the Panglong Agreement, the basis of the historic Union Day, were adopted.
Colonialists exercised the divide-and-rule policy in ruling the mainland and hilly areas of Myanmar under their laws for their long-term interests. Hence, racism, dogmatism, sectarianism and personal cult among the national ethnic peoples based on the aforesaid divide-and-rule policy triggered the armed insurgency within some months and caused fighting. Everybody knows that the country cannot enjoy the taste of peace and stability till today. Despite regaining independence, it is known to all that all ethnic people cannot fully enjoy the essence of independence as the country is still far from peace and stability as well as development.
National solidarity is the lifeblood for ensuring the peace and stability of a country and the perpetuation of sovereignty as well as a great driving force for the development of a country. Hence, ethnic national brethren are to remove suspicion among themselves so as to restore perpetual peace. Currently, the local people from the areas that cannot restore peace yet run out of patience over unrest and violent attacks harming the interests of the State and the people. Having improvement in socioeconomic life and safety and peaceful living is the same and keen desire of all ethnic national people.
Hence, it is necessary to build solidarity based on mutual understanding and trust among ethnic national brethren. If the country restores peace one day earlier, it will benefit the people one day earlier.
Nowadays, as peace talks can be held thanks to relentless efforts for the restoration of the Union, the whole nation will enjoy the fruits of the peace process. The government has adopted a five-point roadmap and 12 political, economic and social objectives while making preparations to hold free and fair multiparty democratic general elections in order to ensure peace and stability and realize democratization. As such, I would like to urge the entire national people to participate in the process for the emergence of freedom, safety, peace and tranquillity and development undertakings in Myanmar.
At present, it is delighted that the majority of Shan State is peaceful, prosperous, and free from unrest and violence as well as fighting. If the remaining parts of the northeast region of Shan State still need peace and stability, the whole of Shan State will enjoy the fruits of peace and tranquillity and the socioeconomic life of the ethnic national people will improve.
The government and Tatmadaw are striving for ceasing the armed conflicts with utmost effort as a nationwide ceasefire, perpetual peace and national reconciliation are actual requirements. In accordance with the point included in the five-point roadmap of the State, “An emphasis will be placed on achieving enduring peace for the entire nation in line with the agreement set out in the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA)”, the government is continuously striving for the implementation of the peace process. The military operations have been suspended for five years till the end of this year with the anticipation of restoring the perpetual peace, and fighting and battles which are not answers for peace are avoided. The peace door is open for seeking the answer on the peace table. So, I would like to urge all to take the opportune time to restore peace by showing goodwill and open-minded manners while putting the interests of the Union and all ethnic and national people, before the interests of themselves, their regions and their organizations.
All need to rebuild solidarity and understanding among the ethnic national brethren similar to that built at Panglong in 1947. They all have to strive for showing national unity at present similar to that of Panglong in the last 76 years.
I send a message urging all ethnic national people to join hands with the government in unison based on the Panglong Spirit in order to successfully implement the goal of building the democratic federal Union based on federalism with the full essence of justice, liberty and equality.
Senior General Thadoe Maha Thray Sithu
Thadoe Thiri Thudhamma Min Aung Hlaing
Chairman, State Administration Council